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When No One Says Hello

As i recently posted, it’s been kind of rough lately. I didn’t get into details in my last post- but, in short- my mother had a stroke, my brother (who has cancer) hasn’t been doing well. I have had several home projects going on, and this weekend my 3 year old ‘expensive’ fridge finally died- which meant having to buy a new one. (Read: all that OT i’ve been doing to pay down debt just went out the window- financially speaking.)

Life happens….But one of the aspects of stress like this can culminate into something i didn’t get into- the psychology, emotions, and the mental part of it . This has multiple components, but i want to discuss one in particular here.

Today was no exception to the stressful rule of the day. You see, i have a confession to make- i haven’t been to the gym since January. And, to be truthful- at some point right before the November/December holiday season, i was already starting to slack off. In my defense, i did begin walking/hiking more regularly. And in my mind this was the self-consolation i used to get by. Internally, i hated myself for not pushing and i was starting to feel like a complete loser, but the everyday stressors had started to compound and that motivation/grit just wasn’t there.

Today was the day I promised myself i would get back to my gym routine. I said all the mantras, took all the prep steps and yes, i got myself out the door . I told myself i only had to do 30 minutes, i didn’t have to go heavy , and my reward would be 10 minutes lying in the tanning bed to start getting a little color back. I told myself it would be good to actually see people i know ( if only casually) and get out of the house for something better than errands for a change. Only, what happened was this…

I arrived at the gym, and put on a good face, even while dreading( basically) “starting over” fitness wise. I knew i had to push past that feeling of weakness. I had all my supplies, headphones charged, no unsightly holes or stains on my clothes, and my hair was even brushed ( you may laugh -but i frequently forget to do this as i am fan of air drying my hair vs. a blow dryer and my daily clothes are..’comfy’—not fashionable).

I walked in , smiled and gave a short wave to the owner at the front desk. Normally he waves or smiles back. Not today. Ok, i thought- moving on. I passed another regular that usually also waves or smiles. They looked at me then turned away with not an ounce of recognition. A personal trainer that i usually exchange a few words with does the same. This happened with a few more people.

Now, I am not a socialite, per-say, at the gym. I rarely ever spend time in conversations.I just wanna get in and get ‘er done. But i do wave, nod and/or smile. So, now, in my mind i am thinking- what the hell? Did someone clone my FB account and send out a nasty message? Maybe i look so battered and unfit already that no one recognizes me ( or wants to). Or MAYBE everyone has other things on their mind today. I tried real hard to go with that.But my mind got stuck on repeat.

But, getting to my point- here’s the difference between me and a certain percentage of the population. Maybe you can relate one way or the other. Many people i know would use this scenario as a precursor to start giving in to negativity- like trying to get out of there as soon as possible( shortening workouts), and/or maybe slacking off slowly as the next few weeks go by. On the surface , they would make all manner of excuses as to why ( none of them really having to do with the real issue)- which is ..wait for it…

a lack of external validation. BOOM.

You read that correctly. We all feel this sometimes. It’s basic human nature. It’s not pretty or something anyone likes to admit to, but I call it as i see it, and if more people were honest about it, they would have to concede that this little bit of insecurity is what leads a LOT of people away from their goals – short term or long. Usually not the first time, but repeated, similar experiences over a period of time. I am not part of that percentage. In fact, situations such as these are actually what drives me. It takes practice, because it’s easier to make excuses. But it’s so, so important – no matter what the situation may be.

Let me explain. When i personally feel as if i am being attacked, rejected, or worse- ignored( as in this instance), it flips an anger switch in my head. My whole set of mantras change from a low-key “it doesn’t matter how long it’s been, it just matters that i’m starting again” and ” it’s healthy to be around people for a little bit” to a loud, resounding “I don’t care if anyone likes me or not, i am doing this” and “I’m just gonna block out everyone, dig in deep, close my eyes and grind”. Instead of caving to my intrinsic need for validation, I validate myself and use my anger/ annoyance to propel myself forward. I finished my work out, tanned and when i got home i had enough of that energy leftover to fuel pre-packing and freezing my lunches for the next week. By the time i was done, i had returned to an even keel. It was as if the whole thing never happened and life was back to normal.

It’s kind of like this- on one part of your kitchen counter you have pasta and a marina sauce. Sure, it’s an edible meal by itself. On the other side you have peppers, garlic and onions. By themselves- not something most would eat . But if you correctly combine the neutral items ( i.e. a situation) with the strong flavored ingredients( anger, frustration, etc.) you can make a dish worth sitting down for. Sometimes this takes a few tries, but if you’s worth the effort.

No one said hello today, or even smiled at me. But when the day was done, I could smile at myself in the mirror…and it made all the difference.


Rough Day

..week, month, year? Sometimes it feels like that and ..phew…today was one of those for me!

We all have good days and bad. And it doesn’t always take a major incident to experience either. A good day can simply come from counting my blessings and a bad one due to a comment received from a total stranger. There’s really no rhyme or reason to it.

I haven’t been on here as much as i once was. Part of that is due to just not knowing what to say or having anything i felt like talking about. Part of it is staying busy with projects. But the larger part has been feeling a major disconnect from life and people in general.

In the past few years, we have experienced this on a global level, and a lot of that has trickled down into an ongoing ,even if minor, sense of dis-ease ever since. There has been a disruption in the normal personal and social activities, combined with increased internet use. Naturally this has lead to an upwards trend in disparity and polarity, despite the winding down of the intensity of the pandemic. Some of us lost friends or family, while others watched the world from a screen in fear and shock. It was inevitable that these and other related issues would have long lasting effects.

For me, in addition to other unrelated events, it was a shift of huge proportions. Whereas once i had a very active, daily and sometimes overwhelming social life, my life became isolated – with a circle of only 2 friends- my roommate and my boyfriend.It has remained so ever since, despite the occasional attempt to regain some measure of my previous confidence. There is a part of me that feels completely unable to reach out, connect, and interact with 99% of the world- even those i used to share with daily. This doesn’t bother me every day, and in fact, most days i am happy to be left alone. But today, that feeling of isolation hit me again like a ton of bricks and I hate it!

For one thing, my roommate and best friend now has a girlfriend( whom i absolutely adore) and she has also been working several PT jobs. When she is home, she is usually sleeping, and we rarely get to talk or connect anymore. She has had a few challenging months with health issues and finances as well. I have tried to be supportive and helpful, but most of it is not in my control. This has left me feeling more lost than ever, even while i am deeply happy she has found love. In addition, my boyfriend changed work hours , and we are now on opposite shifts, so we see each other a lot less. I am trying to remedy this by changing my own schedule to being off on a different night when he isnt tired from working all day. But i have fears that despite this, our circadian rhythms will still prevail. Fingers crossed. At any rate, both of these factors have added to my feelings of loneliness and disconnection.

On a positive note, i have accomplished a great deal – home projects and financially. I started back in September by adding an additional shift each week to pay off the debt from my cabin project. My goal is to have that all paid off by October and this will substantially decrease my monthly debt. I’ve done well with paying down other debt ( medical, etc). and am happy with my increased credit score and debt ratio. I have crossed off a few more items on my bucket list as well, and feel encouraged about future endeavors. March is one year of sobriety ( again) and thats also a good thing. I cannot stress enough how important having a clear, unsaturated brain can change ones perspectives and prospects in life. Continued prayers and congrats to my Sober community on here:)

Well, all caught up now.

Sending hugs and love to all.


Stipple Stuff

Just thought I’d take a writing break and drop a couple pieces i’ve completed this year. I have named this year “The Year of the Vampire”. I am focusing on classic vampires from the old silent films, classic films, and modern famous vampire characters.I went in a different direction to take a break from water color. These are done in .003- .08 micro pen archival ink of double thick vellum Bristol paper:) Each piece takes 30 plus hours to complete.

Bonus points if you can name each and/or what movie or series they are from.


not quite finished with this last one…


Levels of Respect

This is an area on which i have found very little in the way of research and philosophy. It seems that very rarely have the masses given more thought to respect being a multilayered grey area rather than a black and white “you have to earn respect” viewpoint.

When we talk about respect, and if we go deeper into how our mind processes that concept, I believe it will reveal that the term is relative to the object we apply it to. Does that sound complicated?

Ok, let’s start with examples( this is by far not an all inclusive list-just sayin):

  1. Respect for your elders. This is something many of us were taught growing up. It is usually assumed to apply to anyone older than yourself because in theory they have acquired more experience and wisdom simply due to their additional years alive on this planet.
  2. Respect for authority- This may be applied to the local law enforcement, our nations constitution, or your boss/employer. It is usually assumed to apply to someone or something that has been placed in your life and environment which governs the “rules” one needs to live by in order to pay the bills and not wind up in jail. Some authority is in place to prohibit chaos in society.
  3. Respect for your family- this is assumed under the “unconditional love” umbrella and implies that no matter what, one should always remember that blood is thicker than water and in the end your family is all you have and therefore must come before everything.
  4. Respect for you colleagues- this implies that all of your colleagues are equal to and worthy of your consideration and politeness, regardless of how they do their job, how they treat people, and what they have accomplished by way of education, experience and contribution to their field.
  5. Respect for your partner- This is one that has roots in love, religion, and general standards of intimate partnership. In one example-the “bible” it states that we should place our spouse above our children or outside family in all matters, and that the “husband” should always be deferred to, and respected as the head of the household-yet, unlike the proverbs 31 woman, there is little to qualify the terms of his responsibility and worthiness of such.
  6. General respect for people- this implies that we must be considerate of others in all situations to the best of our ability, so that we , as a society, can exist in relative peace and harmony.

Now, i ask you to consider each and ask yourself “why”. Do these people or entities qualify for respect simply because we are taught or expected to comply? Are there other factors that come into play? And deep down inside- do you have your own standards that apply in each situation?

I certainly do. In other words- not all of these people and situations equal and worthy in deserving my respect.

For instance- as a nurse, it is assumed i should defer to a “doctor”- simply because he/she has more advanced degree than i do. Yet, there is more to it for me. I refuse to simply “defer” to anyone based on their educational degree. There must be a history of competence, as well as a return show of respect for myself as a nurse. I will not allow any doctor to talk down to or demean me. If a particular doctor is rude, does not do their job properly or handles their patients in a less than professional manner- they will not get my respect.

Another example- intimate relationships. I believe the degree of respect should be earned as well as returned. I refuse to show respect if it is not shown to me. This means both partners equally contribute to the well being of the other. We don’t demean or attempt to control our partner. Both put effort into making each other happy, while still maintaining our own self care. If a partner yells at me frequently, tries to control of my time and choices, fails to contribute equally in most matters, does not care about quality time together, and has no willingness to compromise, I will not respect them.

Family- so much to say. A general statement on my end is this- I will show respect until it becomes obvious that i am being taken advantage of, manipulated, or my needs/boundaries are repeatedly not respected . Then, i will walk away- blood or no blood. Too many times I have watched others sacrifice and suffer for their own family, and in the end wind up in poor health themselves for the trouble.

Overall, i was raised to be polite and try to behave in a socially acceptable manner. I will show strangers kindness, and have a healthy respect for the general populace.But i have what i call “levels” of respect- level 1 being the least amount i will give, and level 10 being the highest, most generous amount. I have a zero, level too, it’s very rare for me -but, trust me it isn’t pretty. At level 1 i will give someone the courtesy of not bothering or engaging with them, and likely going out of my way to avoid them. At Level 10, i will move space and time to accommodate, help, and support someone – sometimes even above and beyond what i should, simply because they have shown me extraordinary love and care as well.

How do you feel about respect? Is it a given?

Don’t Get Up!

Yes, you read that correctly.

I write a lot on my blog about “getting up and getting after it”. And I am 100% for putting your best foot forward everyday, staying committed , and staying in the game. But there’s flip side to that coin that is just as valid.

You have to know when to stay down

Knowing and implementing this isn’t a weakness or a failure, but rather a key factor in your ability to reach your goals. It’s part of a life long experience that many young people won’t quite “get” until they are forced to do so because we are told on the regular that we need to push ourselves, stop whining, and be strong. If that migrates to the wrong part of a brain stem, it could be deadly ( work ethic vs. workaholic). There are absolutely times when we need to take a step back.

So, what do i mean exactly?

Let’s start with a few examples:

  1. Physical Injuries– these are times when you have experienced an accident, or serious medical issue that requires recovery and/or rehabilitation. For instance, in 2021 , i began weightlifting again. i was full of energy, excited about my “newbie” gains, and began lifting a bit too heavily too quickly. I wasn’t thinking as much as i should have about proper body alignment. I suffered a sever rotator cuff tear in my right shoulder. Worse, i did not address it right away and told myself i was fine. 5 months later, being in such pain that i could barely brush my hair or lift a coffee mug, in January of 2022 i had am MRI and it was clear that i had to chose between a lengthy rehab process, or surgery. I chose rehab. I hired a coach who specializes in this type of injury with extensive personal experience in the same. This month will be a year since i had the MRI. I am at about 80% recovery point. I had to lay off the heavy weights and my focus shifted away from muscle gain to tendon/joint rehab. If I had pushed any further, i may have permanently lost 50-75% use of my right shoulder.

2. Loss of a Loved One-There is likely very little else that rivals the grief of losing someone you love deeply. This could be a parent, child, friend, partner or colleague. The emotional toll requires healing, and true healing is a process, not a project. There is a reason for the stages of grieving described/created by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. This may require time, counseling and support. Dealing with this is a very personal experience and each individual must decide how to navigate it. No one has the right to tell them to “get over it” or “move on” until they must decide this for themselves. This isn’t a time to push, or block things out. It is a time to lay low, giving your self the proper amount of time to get through it.

3. When your personal aspirations conflict with the greater good. Recently , i described some events that occurred within my tribe. In that instance, the greater good was more important than my personal ones. I had to step up for the greater good. I continue with those goals. However , there was a time when this wasn’t the case. Back in 2020 , i experienced a very deeply personal betrayal by a friend- someone i had supported and encouraged. this person stole from me my self esteem, my reputation, and a venue i had invested heavily in. But at the time, the world was experiencing the start of a pandemic, and in the U.S. there was an incident that resulted in the BLM ( Black Lives Matter) movement becoming a source of great controversy. Racism was in the news daily and protesters, advocates and many individuals were enraged. To say it was a sensitive time is an understatement. During all of this , the “friend” used her race and position in the community to smear my name as well as our venue’s reputation with ugly, unfounded and unjustified claims that we had gotten all of our progress due to the fact that we had “white privilege”. My roommate and i were furious. But we had little choice at that time except to step away. Nothing we could have said to defend ourselves would have been taken well, and in fact would have probably only served to make us look worse. This was not only for the preservation of our own peace, but also the greater good. Racism is and remains a huge problem in our country and my personal feelings are not as important as continued resolution of these issues.It was a time to allow the deep rage and injustice be heard, and to open ourselves up to learning where we could do better. If given a choice, we should always step down for the greater good as we understand it.

4.When someone you have mentored is stepping into the role you have trained them for. The best mentors are those whose idea of success depends upon the student surpassing the teacher, otherwise- what is the point? Mentoring is all about seeing those you educate succeed. If you see them as competition, you shouldn’t be doing it. This can suck when you are suddenly faced with someone you’ve trained being put into your position, especially if the change is unexpected. But you need to step down and see this as your success- not a betrayal. It is pushing YOU to new heights as well, and giving you the opportunity to strive for something higher. I experienced this in a nursing agency when I was the Clinical Education Specialist for a few years.I had worked hard to create and develop this position. Then, the company had a merger, and eventually decided they wanted to use someone i had worked with extensively to take my position. It was done on the sly and I didn’t see it coming. The new employee was expected to do the same job at a fraction of my current salary. But the one i had trained was suited for the job and had proven herself. I stepped down and moved on. To this day, she still contacts me for advice. I consider this a win.

There are many other situations that may necessitate staying down. I cannot possibly list them all. These are times when careful attention must be paid to your health, safety, and those best possible outcome for yourself and/or those around you. So take that time, use it wisely, and know that this isn’t the end. You can and will get back up.


Girls Who Break the Rules

My Tribe is a small tribe, around 500 to date, and much of that has come from 2 tribal splits since the onset of our reformation in 1896, following the Trail of Tears..Our numbers would have been over 2000 and growing had the splits not happened. Our first Chief was tasked with beginning to reconstruct a scattered band of Natives who were called the “stick people” owing to one very large pile of sticks that served as a hiding spot for Indians who ran away during that long journey. There are other legends surrounding “stick indians” but they are unconnected to our tribe ( as far as we know). My brother has been involved with our tribe for over a decade and has even written a book regarding our history which is way more than i have ever done.He has been and remains very dedicated.

I officially joined the tribe in 2016 at my his urging. At the time he had risen up to the level of tribal historian. Today, he is the chairman ( which, in american politics would mean one step below the chief, but this is not so in most tribal spheres). It is more like the chief’s right hand man or go between. In fact, the Chief himself really holds very little responsibility as far as the laws are concerned. He is only allowed to vote in the case of a tie. But, i digress.

In the first year or two i was tasked with learning and then teaching basic Cherokee to our citizens. We are NOT Cherokee , per say, although some citizens do have Cherokee blood.But we had no language of our own, it was a cool pass time and I learned a lot. Cherokee is the first written Native American language that has an official form, or syllabary, It consists of 86 symbols.

“Sequoyah was one of the most influential figures in Cherokee history. He created the Cherokee Syllabary, a written form of the Cherokee language. The syllabary allowed literacy and printing to flourish in the Cherokee Nation in the early 19th century and remains in use today.Sequoyah completed his syllabary around 1821. When it was adopted by the Cherokee Nation, they became the first Native Americans to have their own alphabet and writing system.”- Wikipedia

The language is difficult to learn as there are no root words from Latin or European languages. It also does not use pronouns or articles, such as “he”, “she”, “it”, “the”,” an”, or “a” Nothing needs to be “qualified”.A few of our citizens participated, but interest waned after they learned a few common phrases and eventually i gave up trying to encourage learning, but continued studying on my own. I lost interest after about two years. I admit also to somewhat of a disinterest in my heritage for most of my life owing to generalized labeling and misguided beliefs. One such belief held by many is that they are descendants of a “Cherokee Princess”. FYI- there is no such thing.Another being that one is “part Cherokee”- usually not true as DNA does not lie. I still do not understand why that particular tribe is always the go-to. It’s not even the largest Native American Nation. That honor belongs to the Navajo.

In 2021, I was appointed Medicine Woman. This is not an elected position like the Chief, Chairman, vice Chairman, Secretary or Treasurer. It is one of several appointed positions that sit on council. Appointed offices are generalized in nature and do not hold the weight of elected ones. Still, we have responsibilities, are expected to vote and attend many meetings. If I am being honest, I believe my position holds the least responsibility, which is initially why I took it. I wanted to be helpful, and the seat had been open for a number of years while we had an alternative- a Chaplain, who has since retired. I figured since i was a nurse, and the Chairmans sister, i might as well contribute what little i could.My job description includes caring for the health of our citizens ( mostly in a spiritual aspect, but this does carry over into both traditional and modern medicine).

In the first few months, i was given permission to write and post articles on healing. I titled these “Good Medicine Chronicles”. They took a good deal of time and research, in addition to writing , editing and providing reliable resources.Online research is discouraged in general as a major source of information. I believe I wrote a total of 6 lengthy articles on common ailments with both traditional, alternative and modern treatments. After a while this became tedious, generated little response, and I got bored with the whole thing.

I attended required meetings which for many years were held via Facebook threads. They were also pretty boring. But finally, last January we began using Zoom which has made a huge difference ( both good and bad). Eventually, i started paying attention and learning about our constitution and bylaws, as well as various directives, proposals, and the decades of struggle for recognition as well as land acqusition. These things are way more complex than most understand. Getting county recognition comes first and we are currently recognized in 26 counties, 2 cities and by the American Apolistic Church- all within our home state of Kentucky, USA. However, it isnt simply a matter of getting “enough” counties, nor is it a certain amount of “time” as a tribe. It isnt even relative to blood %. At the time i enrolled, our tribe required DNA testing along with pedigree and documentation. There are particular markers that are present in our blood that links us to specific ancestors. At some point the tribe voted to stop requiring the DNA testing, because basically it was decided that this was a government construct and legitimacy in most federally recognized tribes is not required for membership for anything other than government subsidies.There is also an inconsistency between the U.S. Government requires and the BIA( Bureau of Indian Affairs) does, not to mention various tribal nation requirements.All require ancestral documentation , however. In other words, if you are applying just to get free money from the US Government you need meet a pretty high % and/or belong to a state or federally recognized tribe.

“What percentage Native American do you have to be to get benefits? Most tribes require a specific percentage of Native “blood,” called blood quantum, in addition to being able to document which tribal member you descend from. Some tribes require as much as 25% Native heritage, and most require at least 1/16th Native heritage, which is one great-great grandparent.”-

This isnt even the tip of the ice berg, but again, i digress.

This past year, as i attended the zoom meetings it became obvious to me that there was a very noticeable lack of respect given to our female council members .At first it just seemed more like dismissals, interruptions and patronizing. But at one meeting in particular, a male member lashed out in a verbal tirade towards a female for absolutely no real reason. Nothing was done to stop him, and he was not reprimanded or disciplined. It was then that my purpose was clear. Women have always be a marginalized faction, Native women even more so. The sheer magnitude of unreported murders of our women and children is unconscionable. And it all started with an ignorance, allowance and continued disrespect and dehumanization of the female as a whole. I reached out to another female council member and we decided to form a women’s committee.

Our fight began immediately and in no uncertain terms. If i wrote down everything we’ve had to deal with and overcome in just 7 months, you would be truly shaking your head .For starters, there was opposition to the committee creating “division” in the tribe. One council member even boldly stated “Special interest groups are a nothing but a nuisance! They just wanna take over everything!” another stated “First a Women’s group and where does it end? Are we gonna have a group for people who live in this area or that? What about a group for (pet owners)? This is ridiculous and we don’t have time for it.” In the end we were able to convince a required 2/3 majority that a committee for Tribal Women’s Health, Healing and Civil Rights ( the name we adopted) would be beneficial to the entire tribe, especially since 47% of our citizens were indeed women. The final amended motion required us “discussion on the inclusion of transgender people”- which was crazy as we had already explained several times that we would not discriminate against anyone and all were welcome. But rather than continue nitpicking, we agreed and our committee was born.

Since then the fight to have our own Logo for charity drives and letterheads has been the #1 topic of conflict. Initially , we wanted it to bring unity and identity to our members and figured this would not have be a big deal.How wrong we were. The battle ensued a total of 6 months. the culmination came when i decided to forge ahead despite all opposition and hold a fundraiser for an organization that provides relief for period poverty in Native American communities. Over night i created a hoodie and a mug with our logo, created an account with 2 online suppliers, and posted the fundraiser the next day. Of course all hell broke loose.I was called selfish and irresponsible. I was questioned, accused, berated and literally threatened. One female council member ( who decided she wanted no part of our committee) actually screamed at me during a meeting that i was “destroying the whole tribe”. Another council member publicly accused me of copyright infringement and said i was committing a very serious crime.None of this was true , of course. I had done my homework, and there was literally nothing anyone could do to stop me.The fundraiser was a great success and we won the right to use our logo at this past Decembers council meeting.

Additionally we have drafted a Resolution of Civility- which addresses the expected treatment of our tribal citizens at all times, most especially during meetings.This was introduced in August 2022 and has also created debate and opposition. However, we are determined to move forward.

At the moment there are many serious matters before us as council to deal with and everything that has to go to council will be held in abeyance. The matters at hand are time consuming and complex, with lots of meetings and expected conflict. I am dreading all of it as it will be in addition to any committee work.

The whole point of this is that it starts with one person. The person who is willing to break rules, take risks, and be strong enough to look the devil(s) in the eye and not blink. It takes passion, dedication and perseverance. But it has been oh-so-worth-it. Our committee is gaining more members each month and has generated a renewed sense of identity and confidence among previously silent tribal sisters. We just held our first meet and greet, and have many plans for education, spiritual retreats and other paths to enriched vitality and recognition of the unique contributions our ladies can offer to the tribe. Women are becoming more active and speaking out when they need to rather than maintaining a passive role. There is a growing understanding of how much their participation will enhance not only the tribe itself, but the establishment of female role models for our children and future generations. My mission is far reaching, and some days seems impossible. But the rewards are greater than the obstacles.

My friends, i urge you to find your souls purpose, and run with it for all you got. Hold on to it with such veracity that no monster, no mountain, and no evil protagonist can shake you. Use those clenched fists to make a path for those who follow, and allow no quarter for those who would suppress others, would discriminate, humiliate or take advantage of the disadvantaged or weak.

I could have caved. The pressure was immense, the outcome not guaranteed ( and still isnt). I could have been thrown off the board or even out of the tribe. But worse than any of that would be to sit back and do nothing. To allow disrespect to escalate and thrive.To desert my sisters and simply hope it would go away.

Whatever your fears, remember this….

Nothing has ever changed if someone wasn’t willing to break the rules.

Forge on.


“That” Girl

There used to be a TV show by that name. I remember watching it as a child. It was what the media projected as the perfect example of a happy, carefree woman of the world at that time. Today, ideals are a bit different but the ‘theme’ is the same.

We all know the type. We see her in movies, on the street, at work, and in our minds. She is a neighbor, a celebrity, a character in a novel, our colleague. She is everywhere, and we can’t help but notice.

That girl.

She’s the girl we want to be- somewhere deep in our mind. The woman we secretly try to emulate, or at least admire- not that we want anyone to know. And she’s also the one we kind of hate because we feel like we will never measure up to.

For me, it has always been that chick with the perfect pony tail- a water bottle in one hand, a sturdy backpack, and a lean muscular body. She has mastered Yoga, works out faithfully and has superhuman energy 20 hours a day, every day. She is the girl who has the most unique skills imaginable, the most useful yet obscure knowledge and knows how to make money doing exactly what she loves.She travels the world doing cool stuff. She’s gets up everyday, does all the right things and is out the door before the sun rises. She hops into her sporty, yet practical, vehicle wearing the perfect outfit, fully fueled with a nutritious breakfast. She is prepared for anything, and she is successful at all she does. Her time is structured, disciplined and organized. She has solid plans for a future- including retirement. She is beautiful to look at, and awesome to hang out with.

Ugh. Did you get a little nauseaous just reading that? I did.

Never the less-in my head- that’s who i want to be.

Sigh…. i never get up at dawn..i get into bed at 8am. I skip gym days sometimes and eat junk food because i feel overwhelmed. I love trivial pursuit but mostly suck at it.I love my job but it’s not my passion.I am successful at any given thing only about 50% of the time. I have almost zero solid plans for my retirement. Oh, and i really hate trying to get a perfect pony tail- that’s a myth!

Try as we might, we will never be her – she doesn’t exist. Even if she did, our mind would add on ever more ideals for her to live up to.

And yet, to others – you are probably her without even realizing it!

Think about those times when you notice someone suddenly wearing a hairstyle eerily similar to your own. Or those times you notice a friend trying a new hobby closely related to yours. Maybe there’s a neighbor who starts growing a garden that starts suspiciously looking like yours. I have noticed it from time to time in fellow artists who step out of their usual medium and attempt to emulate my own style in one way or another. It used to bother me, but i’ve learned to feel honored. There’s always someone out there who admires or envies YOU.

Remember-all of your heroes have heroes as well. And heroes are a good thing-they inspire us to be better. They push us towards our goals and help us see a better version of ourselves. They force us to look in the mirror and face what we don’t like, and advance towards what we want. So, no worries-You don’t have to give her up

To someone out there, YOU are “that girl”.

Embrace her. But take care to love the one in the mirror even more.


OOF! Shame on Me..

You know when you take a few moments to go back and read stuff you wrote a year ago, 2 years ago, or longer? I have to admit I kind of regretted it…Because sometimes while I am reading them I think “Who the hell is this person?”

Sure, there are a few “what was i thinking?” posts. And, yes, a few all out whine-a thons( like this one). But you know which ones hit me the most? The ones where i wrote something that i SHOULD have remembered.

Tonights little gem was this ( from 2019).

“The reason most people don’t do anything great, is because it doesn’t feel great while you are doing them.”

Talk about a gut punch. Back then i was walking every day( at night really – before work) in 20 degree temps and loving it. I was in a gym abhorrence phase when i just didn’t wanna be around the smells and people. I had quit smoking though, and was at my 30 day mark. Life was good, A bit lonely- yes. But over all –much healthier. Reading all of it, just makes me want to cringe.

I am so not that person right now. I have gained weight again, and have been eating way more carbs( bread, cookies) than i should . I’m not eating ice cream everyday like i was back in January/February but …sigh..i still have it once a week, along with sweets every day in some form. I still smoke cigarettes. I don’t drink and i don’t want to. I started kickboxing lessons but now I’ve slowed my roll on gym days.

Yeah, sometimes it still feels like it sucks.I am no saint. But that short sweet reminder was a good one.

I can do better.

Touche, life…Touche…


Let’s start out with some hard facts:

  1. I was born into poverty, raised in trailer parks divorce and violent home situations(plural)
  2. I made unwise decisions as i grew into adult hood
  3. Those decisions had a domino effect
  4. i had my first child at age 19 while in an abusive marriage
  5. i became pregnant again 6 years later to a less abusive but still toxic partner
  6. during that pregnancy i was put on bedrest and had to file bankruptcy.
  7. Over the next 10 years i struggled to regain financial stability after which-
  8. i started a stable 10 year marriage that lasted from 2001-2011
  9. when i left that marriage, i began drinking heavily for the next 7 years
  10. finally, in 2018, i began my recovery( and it’s been some kind of ride!)

Now that we are all caught up, i wanna talk about “Grind”.

Grind is something that is necessary to overcome just about any obstacle that is presented to you in life- whether by choice or as a consequence of your own actions.The above may look like a pretty straight forward list. But there were many many things that happened before, during, in-between, and after each that changed my life in positive ways. Call them life lessons if you want. Call them experiences, decisions, challenges, epiphanies, luck( good or bad)..or anything you like.

But never, ever call them failures.

It has taken me a very long time to totally absorb the concept that all things happen for our own good. Because going through difficult, or even downright horrible things is , well…horrible. It is sometimes nearly impossible to see the good in undesirable circumstances while we are going through them. The death of a loved one. A terminal illness. A broken marriage. A devastating financial blow. We may feel adrift, angry, unfocused, resentful, deeply sad , depressed, anxious along with many other things during these times. We may feel like things will never change( or never be the same!) and that we will never get past them. It may certainly feel like failure.And that is totally normal.But i assure you this is NOT true.

I am now 55. I have had to GRIND my way through more than i could possibly list.

But i did keep going. I went to work, even when i didn’t feel like it… day in/ day out. I paid my bills. I cried. I drank. I had ups, i had downs. But i also took steps to do better.

I didn’t see the forest or the trees..i had a vision of something way beyond that boundary. And there was a visceral and mental grind that was the only pathway to get there. And it still is.

My Current Life:

I have a consistent income.I am living in the 4th home i have owned.My most recent happiness project is 90% complete- a restful retreat in the woods of my very own.I am now sober, working out regularly, paying attention to my health.Best of all- I have my family – a son, a daughter and 2 wonderful grandsons. And, yes.. I am


I work 50 plus hours a week. I drive an hour each way.I get in the gym at least 4 days a week. I spend many hours each week organizing my house, schedule, and personal life. I dedicate time and energy to my tribe as their Medicine Woman. I see my grandchildren faithfully once a month. I am a conscientious worker who values my role as a nurse. I practice my art diligently and regularly. And i still have many plans( complete with lists, goals, and timeframes) for my home, property, and life in general.

It won’t be perfect. I still have lots of days when “I can’t even!” But i get up, and get after it anyway. I whine inside my head while i trudge along on a treadmill.I loathe everyone and everything as i sit in crazy traffic to get places on time. I look around and see every mess , chore, and responsibility i have to deal with and want to scream. But i know…

I know what it takes, and what is possible.


Are you gonna grind…or or be left behind?


Self-Assessment 2022

Repeat after me: I love and am loved!

Let’s face it, folks- we are in the homestretch of 2022…the 4th quarter.. and right around the corner from new opportunities . It’s time to look yourself in the mirror, settle into meditation or spend time in your preferred way of embracing a better you.

I offer the following suggestions as a starting place. Pick one. Pick a dozen. Add your own. Or utilize all of them. It’s time for preparations now so that we don’t have to make reparations later.

And p.s.-Have fun!

  1. What gives you peace
  2. What gives you pleasure
  3. What are your strengths
  4. What are your challenges
  5. What are your obstacles
  6. What are your privileges
  7. What healthy boundaries have you stuck to this year
  8. What limitations have you accepted about yourself
  9. What was your biggest regret this year
  10. What was your greatest accomplishment
  11. How do you envision yourself changing in 2023
  12. What are the steps you will take to make that change
  13. What are you grateful for now?
  14. How has this past year changed you
  15. Are you surrounding yourself with positive people
  16. Has your environment changed in any way
  17. What are your fears for the coming year
  18. How did you give back in 2022
  19. How will you give back in 2023
  20. Who is most important to you
  21. Have you made significant progress toward your life goals this year
  22. How can you do better next year
  23. If you could change only one thing this year what would it be
  24. When you look in the mirror, what do you see
  25. Do you have any negative thoughts that need to be dealt with
  26. Has your faith deepened or changed in any way
  27. Do you have plans for a better spiritual life
  28. Have you made any cookies this year
  29. If not, why haven’t you made any cookies
  30. If so, what kind of cookies would you like to make this year

(can you tell I love cookies?-lol)

Hugs to all and Namaste!